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February 6, 2012

Plastic Challenge: Kristin Overton, Week 44

 

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Winter composting ideas aside from vermiculture, which we already do? We live somewhere that if we leave any food outside, critters will get it. It’s too early for bears but they’ll be out soon enough!

Cheesecloth (actually for cheesemaking!) seems to only be sold in plastic packaging. Is there an alternative/environmentally conscious brand out there?

Location:Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

Name: Kristin Overton

Week: 44

Personal Info:

University & working couple plus bunny doing the best we can!

Kristin Overton’s personal blog: http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com/

List of plastic items REFUSED this week. (Yay!)
-bought beans, nuts & rice in bulk with cloth bags
-mailed something in a cardboard envelope rather than the cheaper plastic one. twice
-glass prevailed over a plastic jar in the hunt for vitamin d, even though the jar does have a plastic lid
-bought the package glaziers points with less plastic (and a reusable container!)
-bought grainy mustard in bulk from work instead of bringing home a jar of it to sit in our fridge
-ate at work way too much this week for my own good… but no plastic to bring home!

Total items collected: 28

Total weight:

Items: Recyclable
Sadly plastic recycling isn’t available where we live.

Items: Nonrecyclable
1. Packaging from large picture frame & kit
2. Packaging from package of small picture frames
3. Window in box of lasagna noodles
4. Starbucks cup & lid
5. Candy bag from Christmas
6. 5 Bread bags & tags
7. Cheesecloth package
8. Stickers on fruit & veggies
9. Cheese packaging
10. Floss container
11. Ripped Ziploc bag
12. 2 Lids & seals to glass bottles of vitamins
13. Bandaid wrappers
14. Seal to container of protein powder
15. Garbage bag for the weeks trash (not shown)
16. Pasta bag
17. 5 Plastic loops holding price cards onto metal baskets
18. Gifted “curry kit” containing several little baggies of spices etc
19. Icing sugar bag
20. Deodorant stick
21. Salad tub
22. Xanthan gum bag
23. Daiya bag
24. Black garbage bag formerly housing old grad dress
25. Tape on an envelope for a tax receipt
26. 2 Old containers from toolbox cleanout
27. Drywall plug container from toolbox cleanout
28. Bag of fresh basil

What items can I easily replace with plastic free or less plastic alternatives?
-Packaging from large picture frame & kit/Packaging from package of small picture frames: we searched all over town for a usable frame in thrift shops, value village etc…
-Window in box of lasagna noodles: gluten free pasta making is likely a tricky business, but I’m sure it could be done from scratch. This was more of a using up what we had in the kitchen meal
-Starbucks cup & lid: we have reusable travel mugs!
-Candy bag from Christmas: this was totally my fault, I easily could have blamed it on a gift but it was the first piece of plastic I bought on our Christmas roadtrip. There are lots of ways I could have easily gotten around this one.
-5 Bread bags & tags: FIVE?!?! We need a diet re-evaluation this week!
-Cheesecloth package: we actually MADE cheese with this cheesecloth! It was something we already had in the house, but I can’t seem to find it in stores in non-plastic packaging. Are there alternatives?
-Cheese packaging: I’ve been buying cheese from the deli & bringing my own containers, but they don’t carry any goat’s cheese which is all that Mr.C can eat. We did make our own ricotta from goat’s milk this week though!
-Floss container: the floss is biodegradable, but the container itself doesn’t appear to be. Just recyclable which doesn’t help given our recycling situation.
-Deodorant stick: I bought a packaging-less deoderant from Lush awhile ago but haven’t used up my existing stuff. I’m interested to see how it ‘performs’
-Salad tub: I could buy heads of lettuce. I’m planning greens in my garden again this spring (excited!)
-Bag of fresh basil: I would be windowsill growing this if we got enough light in our basement suite, but we don’t. It’ll be making an appearance in the greenhouse this spring as well.

What items would I be willing to give up if a plastic free alternative doesn’t exist?
-Window in box of lasagna noodles: maybe? Does this mean I have to give up all pasta?
-Starbucks cup & lid: this was the first thing we gave up
-Ripped Ziploc bag: we gave up buying new ziploc bags awhile back as well, but this was an old one.
-Icing sugar bag: can we make this gluten free ourselves?
-Deodorant stick ?
-Black garbage bag formerly housing old grad dress: I have a giant box of black garbage bags that I purchased YEARS ago and have yet to use up. They’re not going anywhere any time soon, but I can safely say that I wont be needing to buy any more of these. Ever.

What items are essential and seem to have no plastic-free alternative?
1. Packaging from large picture frame & kit
2. Packaging from package of small picture frames
3. Window in box of lasagna noodles
4. Starbucks cup & lid
5. Candy bag from Christmas
6. 5 Bread bags & tags
7. Cheesecloth package
8. Stickers on fruit & veggies
9. Cheese packaging
10. Floss container
11. Ripped Ziploc bag
12. 2 Lids & seals to glass bottles of vitamins
13. Bandaid wrappers
14. Seal to container of protein powder
15. Garbage bag for the weeks trash (not shown)
16. Pasta bag
17. 5 Plastic loops holding price cards onto metal baskets
18. Gifted “curry kit” containing several little baggies of spices etc
19. Icing sugar bag
20. Deodorant stick
21. Salad tub
22. Xanthan gum bag
23. Daiya bag
24. Black garbage bag formerly housing old grad dress
25. Tape on an envelope for a tax receipt
26. 2 Old containers from toolbox cleanout
27. Drywall plug container from toolbox cleanout
28. Bag of fresh basil

What lifestyle change(s) might be necessary to reduce my plastic consumption?
Sticking to our list! I have a running tally on my phone of what we can’t buy and this weeks slip up was a spur of the moment walk down to get a haircut coupled with a lengthy wait & walk home with an appointment booked for next week. I told him I’d drive him…

I feel like the list this week is lots of misc items coupled with “everyday” food items. I’m constantly cleaning & reinventing our home, ditching things we no longer need as we inch closer to a minimalist lifestyle.

What one plastic item am I willing to give up or replace this week?
Since we slipped up & brought home a Starbucks cup, which was the very first item we gave up on our plastic free journey this week we’re giving up two items.

-Icing sugar bag: can we make this gluten free ourselves? Looks like we can!

http://greekfood.about.com/od/doityourself/ht/make_ahni.htm

-Deodorant stick: there are lots of alternatives out there… We currently don’t shower daily in an effort to conserve water, so this is an important item. We’ll start investigating our options!

What other conclusions, if any, can I draw?

http://slightlyirritatingandinconvenient.blogspot.com/2012/02/weeks-worth-of-plastic-week-44.html

Read all posts by: British Columbia,Canada,Kristin in BC

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5 comments
Katie Ostrich
Katie Ostrich

I also don't shower daily, both in an effort to conserve water and cause my hair doesn't handle daily showers well. However, I do still wash my face, hands and feet before bed. And if I notice that I'm smelly during the day I just use my handkerchief with a little soap and water. (I also dry with the unused portion of the handkerchief. It's surprisingly fast, easy and effective. The natural deodorants weren't working for me and I've found that I prefer the feeling of just being clean. Might be a little extreme for some, but worth trying out.

Kristin
Kristin

Thanks so much for the great ideas Nan!

Beth Terry
Beth Terry

What a great idea to buy cheesecloth from a fabric store on a bolt!

Nan
Nan

Wow, very impressive that you make your own cheese! I used to work at a fabric store and we had cheese cloth on a bolt, which was cut just like other fabrics (so no plastic), but I'm not sure if you have access in your area. We winter compost outside and even though it doesn't actually compost during the winter and starts to build up, it does it's thing come spring. The issue would be the bears. It would, I guess, have to be in a bear-proof structure, which probably is not reasonable. Here the only critters are maybe mice and squirrels, and I would rather have them in the compost pile, than the house. I'm thinking a place like Mother Earth News might have some suggestions. My 2 cents on deodorant: I love homemade baking soda, cornstarch and coconut oil deodorant, with a little essential oil. I ride my bike everywhere and never seem smelly when I use it (which had been a problem with other natural deodorant). Best of luck!